AI (and the Human Touch) in the Insurance Industry

Advancements in technology have given new life to the slow, inefficient processes common in the insurance industry. While the influx in AI-operated systems has some employees worried about job security, there are plenty of reasons why human touch is still a crucial element of insurance.

Automation is on the rise across all industries

We’ve all heard it said before that sooner or later robots will rule the world. Whether you believe that or not, the facts seem to paint the same picture that no industry is safe from automation. It’s estimated that AI will replace 85 million jobs around the world by 2025. While this is great news for consumers who will no doubt celebrate the increased efficiencies automation brings to their everyday lives, what does it mean for those whose jobs are at risk?

Well, what if the question on employees’ minds wasn’t, “How soon will robots take our jobs?” but rather, “How can we work with robots to better serve our customers?” This way, the conversation surrounding AI doesn’t have to end in us versus them. 

Humans shouldn’t be replaced by technology, but empowered by it; in consumer-facing industries like insurance, the human touch is still very much necessary.

The growing use of AI in the insurance industry

You may be thinking, AI in the insurance industry…really? Sure, historically this industry isn’t exactly known for its technological innovation, but as Bob Dylan once sang, the times they are a-changin’. As it stands, 21 percent of insurance organizations report they are currently preparing their workforce to adopt AI-based systems. AI has revolutionized the insurance industry, which was once known for being full of time-consuming tasks and manual inefficiencies. 

The automation revolution has proven beneficial at helping insurance companies grow, save money, reduce fraud, and increase efficiencies. However, leaning too heavily on technology and completely removing the human touch from insurance processes can be detrimental. 

The truth is, only a human can understand the true scope of a client’s needs and the emotion behind each sale. There are multiple areas of the insurance industry that actually benefit from human/machine partnership.

4 areas of the insurance industry that benefit from AI, but still need the human touch

1. Fraud

Technology is already helping us stop fraudulent activity in the insurance industry before it becomes a bigger issue. AI-powered fraud detection systems can memorize patterns and alert users to suspicious activity. For insurers dealing with sensitive data, the extra level of security can help build trust with customers. 

However, while AI-powered systems may alert users to fraudulent activities, they don’t actually catch the fraud. That role is still up to the humans. Once a system has signaled suspected fraud, individuals still must act on this knowledge to actually stop the fraud from occurring and determine if the activity is truly fraudulent. Then the humans running the system can feed that knowledge of the attempted fraud back into the AI-powered system to enhance its accuracy next time something fishy happens.

2. Claims processing

Claims processing is full of labor-intensive, low value tasks that in many cases are still being performed manually. Not only does this waste employee time but it can also result in human error and extra costs. For these reasons, insurers can and should bolster their use of technology to settle claims faster and more accurately, as well as at a lower cost to the company. 

In the increasingly automated world, personal engagement when a client most needs it can act as a differentiator. A customer’s experience throughout the claims process is crucial to an insurer’s retention and growth. 

While AI-powered technology should be used to relieve insurer staff from time-consuming tasks it shouldn’t fully replace the human aspect of claims processing. Instead, technology should arm professionals with the tools they need to speed up claims resolutions, giving them more time to build customer relationships. 

3. Producer onboarding

The insurance industry is currently facing a talent crisis, making it difficult for companies to find and keep good producers. With hiring becoming increasingly competitive, agencies with outdated producer onboarding processes risk losing talent to competitors that can offer a more efficient experience. 

If your approach to producer onboarding is full of siloed data, disconnected processes, and compliance errors, then it’s probably a good time for an update. AI can be a powerful tool in the onboarding process, specifically when it comes to new employee paperwork, IT setup, and training.

While technology can help attract new producers and get them selling faster, it should never replace a genuine human welcome to the company. When it comes down to it, HR is all about people. Removing the human element from the onboarding process completely isn’t the best way to show new employees how excited you are to have them on your team.

4. Client communications

In the early stages of the Covid-19 pandemic, companies across all industries were given grace while they learned to adapt to new no-contact, fully digital ways of operating. Nearly three years into it and many customers now expect businesses to offer digital alternatives or additions to their services. 

Nowadays, clients communicate via email, video calls, submission forms, and even text. AI-operated chat boxes are an easy way for clients to get answers fast. Online communication makes it easy to send and receive information anytime and just about anywhere. 

There’s no denying that AI has improved the client experience, but there is a big area in which it falls short: human connection. Insurance customers still want and need the expert guidance of independent agents. No two customers are completely the same and it takes a real person to fully understand the unique needs of each individual policyholder. 

Making room for partnership between humans and machines

The insurance industry is in a unique position. Insurance professionals have the chance to combine best-in-class technology with their best people to offer faster and more accurate service to their clients. 

Just as refusing to embrace technology will limit agency growth, so too will taking humans out of the equation. Only companies that find ways for employees to use technology to their advantage will be able to provide the efficient and personalized services their customers crave.

If you’re ready to see how AgentSync can empower your team with efficiency and accuracy,  schedule a demo today and let us show you what better looks like.

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